Alapaha River Water Trail @ VLCIA 2014-08-19

I talked about the Water Trail that WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. is developing on the Alapaha River with a tiny grant from the Georgia River Network, and how that was a plus for local economic development that wouldn’t cost VLCDA a dime. They seemed to like that, at the 19 August 2014 Regular Meeting of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Development Authority.

Here’s the video, followed by some pictures, links, and notes:

Alapaha River Water Trail
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Tom Call, Roy Copeland, Mary Gooding, Chairman, Jerry Jennett, Terri Lupo, Andrea Schruijer, Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton, Attorney, Tom Davis, CPA, Allan Ricketts, Project Manager,S. Meghan Duke, Public Relations & Marketing Manager, Lu Williams, Operations Manager,
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 19 August 2014.

First I complimented the Authority on their recent name change (from Industrial to Development).

Then I introduced WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc., whose mission is:

WWALS is an advocacy organization working for watershed conservation of the Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems watershed in south Georgia and north Florida through awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen advocacy.

I talked about the “tiny little grant so small I don’t want to mention it after seeing your budget; very tiny” from Georgia River Network as a Turner Regrant, sourcing funds from the Turner Foundation. How it’s been useful as a sign of recognition, and for paying for brochure, maps, website, and maybe some signs to market an Alapaha River Water Trail.

I noted the Alapha River gets an A because it has very little development right next to it, it has rapids, native vegetation and wildlife, etc. (That’s actually an A+ from Canoeing & Kayaking Georgia, By Suzanne Welander, Bob Sehlinger, Don Otey, page 331.) I said the Altamaha gets a C. (Actually a B-; see page 285.)

I invited them all to the 24 August 2014 WWALS Alapaha Outing at Hotchkiss Crossing from the Lanier County side; see pictures.

I noted that outing would go past where the county was establishing a park at US 84. I thanked the county once again for doing that (the county Chairman was sitting in the audience; he nodded).

This is a quality of life kind of thing. People who want to work for some of the kinds of jobs you’re trying to attract; they’ll find this kind of thing attractive.

I won’t predict that it will bring in hundreds of jobs, but it’s something they will find attractive.

I mentioned the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA) has been thinking about this general idea for some time, mostly on the Withlacoochee River, but we were starting on the Alapaha partly because of hte park, and because of it being wild and scenic.

And I invited them to this Sunday’s much longer outing, 10 AM 21 September 2014, on the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers. It should take about five hours on the water. I noted this was where that Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline would cross each of those two rivers. But you don’t need to know anything about the pipeline to enjoy the outing. And still, anyone who doesn’t have a boat, we’ll see if we can rustle one up for you.